Transformational power of Black Dance explored in Cultiv8

Day of inspirational events part of the LEAP Dance Festival 2018.

Transformational power of Black Dance explored in Cultiv8

by Culture Liverpool

The creative work of Black women in dance – and the wide-ranging influence of the African diaspora – is being put firmly centre stage in a special day-long event as part of LEAP Dance Festival 2018.

Cultiv8, which takes place at Liverpool Hope University’s Creative Campus on 8 November, will explore the transformational power of black dance, featuring a workshop and a fascinating afternoon discussion involving leading female dance experts (Artistic Directors, choreographers, producers and educationalists) and culminating in a series of stunning and thought-provoking performances.

LEAP Dance Festival 2018 is marking the centenary of some women winning the right to vote by celebrating female artists and the power for transformation in contributing to dance practice and its engagement in communities.

Liverpool, which is currently marking Black History Month, has one of the oldest Afro-Caribbean communities outside London.

A number of leading women from the world of dance will descend on the city for the Cultiv8 event, organised by curator Maxine Brown.

The day is set to start with a two-hour workshop by Uchenna Dance, aimed at student/professional dancers and exploring the cultural origins of the Uchenna signatory blend of dance styles.

Empowered Pioneering Black Women in Dance

An afternoon discussion – Empowered Pioneering Black Women in Dance – will involve five outstanding speakers who will share their knowledge and skills of African dance and the Diaspora and debate the idea of dance development and multi-culturalism from their own perspectives.


Sharon Watson is the Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre. Trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance, she was one of the first female principal dancers invited to join the all-male, award-winning Phoenix Dance Company. Sharon left Phoenix to set up her own company ABCD, returning in 2009 as the new Artistic Director.

She was named Yorkshire Woman of the Year in 2016 and acknowledged at the 2017 Northern Power Women Awards for her commitment to improving diversity within the arts.

Beverley Glean MBE is the founder, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of IRIE! Dance Theatre. Trained at the Laban Centre London, The Jamaica School of Dance and The Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba. she has continued her training by working alongside artists from West Africa, Europe, USA, and the Caribbean. Beverley has worked in the field of African Peoples’ Dance for over 30 years.

Jeanefer Jean-Charles is a mass movement director, choreographer and creative consultant who delivers large scale performances (including major opening ceremonies such as the Olympics in London and Beijing Torch Ceremony) and training for artists and organisations embracing her passion for Jazz, Street and African Dance. She will reveal what inspired her to dedicate her life to empowering others through movement and dance.

Carolene Hinds specializes in authentic Jazz Dance and as Artistic Director of the Jiving Lindy Hoppers (1991- 2007) she travelled worldwide teaching, performing and training with the masters of the technique.

She has choreographed for stage and screen and was an assistant choreographer for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. She has chaired organisations such as ADAD and Spare Tyre Theatre Co and was recently appointed to the council of UKAdance

And Oluwatoyin Odunsi is an independent arts venue and festival programmer, an interdisciplinary arts producer, tour booker, theatre director and DJ. She is Artistic Director of Vintage Misfits, a performing arts production company specializing in bringing unique stories to new audiences, using current cross artforms such as theatre, dance, music, film, live art, comedy and circus.


The discussion will be followed by an hour-long Cultiv8 Mixed Bill performance featuring solo performances by three diverse and emerging performers – Claricia Parinussa, Nafisah Baba and Charlene Kaliyati – that takes the temperature of Black dance in the UK today. Added to that Jeanne Travers will present her UK premier as she visits from the US.

And then Uchenna Dance will return to present The Headwrap Diaries, set in a South London hair salon where three fierce, clever and witty female characters take us through stories of community, heritage, womanhood, friendship and, most importantly, hair.

The performance culminates in a Head Wrap Bar where the audience will be able to meet the company, share experience, have a drink and try out some head wrapping for themselves.

Entrance to the entire Cultiv8 day of activities is £50.


Tickets can be purchased individually:

Uchenna Dance Workshop £8

Debate (including food) £35

Mixed Bill £9.50/7.50

Uchenna Dance’s Head Wrap Diaries £11.50/£9.50.


MDI Artistic Director Karen Gallagher MBE said: “Cultiv8 originally started in 2008 and is very much about how we as an organisation ensure diversity is instrumental in all we do.

“It still stands today that we have to ensure there is an opportunity for Black women to be seen. How do we keep making what we do visible?

“This 2018 event is a full day of reflection on our cultural diversity, and to shine a light on Black women in dance.”

LEAP Dance Festival takes place from November 2-12 at venues across Liverpool Hope’s Creative Campus.

The theme for this year’s festival is Suffrage in a tribute to the suffragette movement celebrating 100 years since some women were first given the right to vote.

In celebration of this, the festival will feature female protagonists in each of the dance performances, all of which are new shows to Liverpool.

LEAP 2018 is also part of the #Liverpool2018 celebrations which mark 10 years since the city received the prestigious 2008 Capital of Culture title. Each production in the festival will be making its Liverpool debut meaning this the perfect opportunity for audiences to experience never before seen performances.

To find out more about the conference and book a place, visit

For further information about LEAP 2018 visit


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Cultiv8: Workshop/Discussion/Performance

Venue: Liverpool Hope Creative Campus

Date: Thursday 8 November

Time: 10am-7pm

Tickets: £50


Uchenna Dance workshop

Venue: Great Hall, Creative Campus

Date: Thursday 8 November

Time: 10am

Tickets: £8


Cultiv8: Empowered Black Women in Dance Debate

Venue: Grace Room, Creative Campus

Date: Thursday 8 November

Time: 12.30pm

Tickets: £35 (includes food)


Cultiv8: Mixed Bill

Venue: Warehouse Studio, Creative Campus

Date: Thursday 8 November

Time: 6pm

Tickets: £9.50/7.50


Uchenna Dance: The Headwrap Diaries

Venue: Capstone Theatre, Creative Campus

Date: Thursday 8 November

Time: 8pm

Tickets: £11.50/£9.50





Photo – © Foteini Christofilopoulou.

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